The Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies have defeated the NSW Waratahs 31-25 in a thrilling round one encounter at Allianz Stadium.
A try on debut for Wagga Wagga product Corey Toole sealed the victory for the Brumbies, on a night when five players made their first appearance in ACT colours and Nic White played his 100th game for the club.
The Brumbies would draw first blood, Tom Wright cutting through the line from fullback to set up Ryan Lonergan, who did well to take the challenge of the covering Waratahs defence to score.
NSW responded through rookie winger Max Jorgensen, but it was his wing which was exploited for the Brumbies second try, Andy Muirhead alive to the opportunity that Lonergan laid on a plate from a well-executed cross-kick.
The teams had previously traded penalties, but it was Muirhead’s try that made the difference as the teams headed to the sheds at halftime.
The first half’s furious pace continued, and the Brumbies continued to build pressure, Lonergan adding two more penalty goals to the tally.
Corey Toole looked to have provided a highlight reel assist for Rob Valetini, and a potentially match-sealing try with the most brilliant of offloads, but a single stud on the sideline chalk kept the Waratahs in touch.
That seemed to spur the home side on, as Jorgensen crossed for his second of the night.
Toole wasn’t to be denied twice however, and this time the former Sevens flyer took the chance himself, dotting down for a try on debut. ‘
The Waratahs clawed another try back through Gordon, but a crucial penalty goal from Noah Lolesio pushed the Brumbies advantage to beyond a converted try, and the Waratahs would settle in the closing moments for a losing bonus-point, the final score 31-25 to the Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies.
The ACT Brumbies now look forward to taking on the Blues on Sunday 5 March, the 2022 Semi Final rematch part of Super Round in Melbourne.
Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “We prepared well for this week and while it wasn’t perfect tonight, we showed some great signs out there, played some excellent rugby and deserved to win the game. “
“Given we had five guys play for the club for the first time, we John Ulugia play 70 minutes having had a couple weeks of training, we’re delighted to be heading back down the Hume highway with the Dan Vickerman Cup, and a win.”
Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies 31 (15) (T: Lonergan, Muirhead, Toole; C: Lonergan, Lolesio; P: Lonergan 3, Lolesio) def NSW Waratahs 25 (T: Jorgensen 2, Gordon; C: Edmed 2; P: Edmed 2)